While We Watched

“While We Watched” is the documentary Elon Musk reportedly banned from Twitter so that he could sell more Teslas in India (source: Frontline’s “Elon Musk’s Twtitter Takeover”).

The controversial doc takes us inside the newsroom of NDTV of India.

For two gripping years, TV journalist Ravish Kumar battles fake news, ratings plunges, and painful cuts. All while fighting to keep facts first.

Will his show be a beacon of reason amidst chaos?

Or will it become a swan song, drowned out by sensationalism, misinfo, and ratings-chasing? The forces of media madness loom large, threatening to engulf Kumar’s program.

It’s stressful to watch.

It made me more proud than ever too live in the U.S. American politics might suck but there’s little risk in having your TV show get banished.

Trailer for “While We Watched”

Watch “While We Watched”

Release Date: September 11, 2022

You can stream “While We Watched” through PBS at https://www.pbs.org/video/while-we-watched-bioa1c/ if you’re a PBS “Passport” member. You can get Passport for $10 per mo. or a one-time donation of $60.

TRhe full movie first aired on PBS’s Point of View series on September 4, 2023. It’s Season 36 Episode 3607.

PBS says that the last day to watch it will be September 3, 2026.

A little history on “While We Watched” streaming options/release dates

The first place people watched “While We Watched” was the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) on September 11, 2022.

The next place the movie premiered was The 27th Busan International Film Festival (South Korea) from October 5 to October 14, 2022

But, for streaming “While We Watched”, there’s a bunch of mystery.

I watched it on YouTube in late 2023 but that link no longer works.

I saw a link for “While We Watched” on Apple TV in late 2023 but that link no longer works.

You can enter your email address on the film’s official web site at https://www.whilewewatched.com/. I tried that and they say they’ll get back to me on streaming options.

Netflix is probably noticing that a steady 100+ peopled are searching “While We Watched Netflix” on Google. Netflix is not currently carrying the doc.

Check here for the latest streaming options (currently there are no options on it): https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/while-we-watched

I always like to play the “Netflix Algorithm Game” in which I type in the documentary to see what Netflix recommends. In this case, when I type in “While We Watched” I get “Article 15” (Hindi drama) and “Merry Christmas Hindi” (neither are docs but both are about India).


  • My Rating: 97/100
  • IMDB Rating: 8.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 100/100 (Users); 91/100 (Critics)

Review of “While We Watched”

While We Watched” (92 minutes) is a gripping 2022 doc from director Vinay Shukla.

It takes us inside the newsroom of NDTV from 2016 to 2018. They are India’s leading independent news network.

The doc centers on Ravish Kumar, NDTV’s prime time anchor.

He is a vocal critic of PM Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP party.

In 2016, Modi suddenly banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

This demonetization wiped out 86% of India’s cash overnight.

Kumar reports critically on the policy’s impact. Protests erupted nationwide.

Tensions escalate in 2019 after a terrorist attack killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Pulwama.

This leads to heightened conflict between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority. Kumar faced immense backlash for his coverage of the anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.

Throughout the doc, we see Kumar’s wife Nayava supporting him.

She is a caring ear, offering advice and comfort as he faces threats and delirium.

However, we learn little about Nayava beyond her role as a university employee and supportive spouse.

As Kumar continues reporting, NDTV faces repercussions. Their broadcast signals are suspiciously scrambled.

Rival anchors denounce Kumar in what seems mostly a grab at ratings.

I’m a former journalist and this part of the doc was super-distubring.

Angry viewers flood Kumar with death threats.

Kumar wrestles with continuing as a journalist. We witness poignant moments of his introspection and wavering faith.

In one powerful scene, Kumar sardonically patronizes a crank caller, revealing his exasperation.

Still, I’m amazed how patient Kumar is with crank callers and other angry viewers.

NDTV’s viewership and revenue plummet. Many of his journalists resign.

Kumar’s bosses suggest he tone down his government criticism.

Yet Kumar persists, even as NDTV is reduced to a skeleton crew.

Shukla’s unprecedented access takes us into NDTV’s newsroom and editorial meetings.

We see the challenges of reporting breaking news with dwindling resources.

The doc viscerally captures the perils of practicing independent journalism under an authoritarian government.

As the world’s largest democracy backslides, “While We Watched” is an urgent warning and a testament to the courage of journalists like Ravish Kumar.

It’s essential viewing for anyone concerned about press freedom, censorship and democracy.

The Best Parts of “While We Watched” (according to user comments)

I asked A.I. to review the 2,500 comments on YouTube about this documentary.

A few themes came up:

  • Courage and integrity — Kumar reported on 2016 demonetization, 2019 CAA protests. Commenters call him “one man army,” “true deshbhakt.”
  • Challenges for independent journalism — The doc shows political pressure, ad withdrawal, layoffs, mob attacks. NDTV faced office raids, staff losses.
  • Personal toll on Kumar — Commenters note impact on Kumar’s mental well-being, family. His wife Nayana makes sacrifices to support his work.
  • Wide viewership and impact — Viewers want the doc in theaters, OTT, YouTube. Some fear censorship like the BBC Modi documentary.
  • Unprecedented access — Commenters praise behind-the-scenes look at Kumar’s work, life. Powerful scenes: laughter, despair. Many want even more details on his journey, coverage, family.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc